When we went into lock-down none of us really had any idea what lay ahead, let alone that we would be expected to wear a mask for several years. In hindsight I see the lock-down as an unexpected catalyst that sent all of us inward to deal with our demons. Yet, there is a silver lining within this event - it brought us to a new place of healing and realization and ultimately evolution.
Not unlike a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly by passage through the chrysalis, we too went into a hibernation of sorts, to transform from a state of fear into a higher form of being. The mask series I have created has taken its own journey and for me signifies an array of cataclysmic shifts within the physical, emotional, spiritual, and egotistical realms. On one hand we have had our daily work grind flipped to a work-from-home setup while on the other more personal side we have been introduced to many healthier modalities of self care and balance in our daily routine because of this alteration in the segments that make up our days.
These masks signify various forms of death and rebirth, meltdown and reformation, but also a new approach to experiencing life. I constructed them over the course of 12 months, from spring of 2020 to early spring 2021, from various bits of junk and found objects that were discovered around my city while biking and hiking. With exception to the paper face form that was purchased at the beginning of the pandemic, the remainder is assembled from found parts, also known as junk. A core focus in the construction resides in reusing and re purposing that which was cast away, in other words making trash beautiful.
I don’t believe any of us are broken, but I do feel we have wounding that can be healed. I also don’t feel it necessary to define what this work means or stands for, I believe this is up to the viewer ultimately. However for me, this body of work signifies a healing journey, both in the cathartic act of construction to keep idle hands busy, as well in a mental and emotional transmutation from a state of fear and unknowing to a self realization. A caterpillar first sheds each layer of itself during the molten stage until it finally spins itself into a chrysalis. These mask could also signify such varying stages of my expression as I too shed in preparation for something new.
Losing ones head isn’t a bad thing, as ego shift occurs we could very well lose that which no longer serves us emotionally. What if this evolution we are experiencing is not just spiritual but also a genetic transformation where fear, grief, apathy, anger etc. do not biologically shift with us? Perhaps we don’t take the same head with us to the other side.
We build and clutter our world to remind us who we are. We live a life often through single serving objects, as well as learned distraction that creates a lost connection to nature. These masks are a reminder for me that everything can have a meaning, a purpose. We can choose to transform ourself through whichever lens we desire. We can re purpose our thoughts, our bits and pieces that only appear to be fragmented, when really they are inches away from a whole new definition of what is meaningful. What is mundane one day can become beautiful and thoughtful the next.
Lao Tzu once said: What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
What if we have to get really dim to learn how to shine. After all, seeds do grow in the dark.